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PCS-Proofing Your Marriage

 Posted by on August 6, 2018 at 09:21
Aug 062018

If you ask a military couple how they survived a PCS move, you will probably get answers like, “Lots of wine, an emergency chocolate stash and a great sense of humor.” Or they may just look at each other and shrug because they are still barely on speaking terms.

In all seriousness, a PCS move is no laughing matter. Moving your family and belongings to another state or country can be hard on everyone and may be particularly demanding on your marriage. Couples may find themselves disagreeing about how to move, what to move and the logistics of moving to the new location. Stress, lack of sleep and disrupted routines can lead to arguments. Once they arrive at the new assignment, couples may struggle to support each other without any local friends to lean on. Sound familiar? If you and your spouse are facing a PCS, here are some ways to get through the move with your relationship intact.

  • Remember that you are on the same team. A move can put you and your spouse at odds on a variety of decisions. Even couples who typically agree completely may find themselves in disagreements when moving to a new location. The good news is that a few PCS arguments do not mean your marriage is falling apart or that your spouse no longer loves you. Instead of approaching PCS decisions like a battle you are trying to “win,” approach it as a team project.
  • Divide and conquer. Try not to compare who is doing more or whose job is more stressful. Instead, discuss which tasks are still on the to-do list and who can accomplish them most efficiently.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you are sorting through and moving everything you own, there are bound to be discussions about how you ended up with so many things. Try not to hold on too tightly to items that can be easily replaced. The same is true for those dusty items in the garage that haven’t been touched in over a year. Ultimately, it’s all just stuff, and most things can be sold, donated or replaced.
  • Discuss your priorities. Couples with a strong relationship will almost always cite “communication” as the key to a happy marriage. But communication can be challenging during a short-notice PCS or when the service member is away. Try to be honest with your partner about your priorities and concerns during the move, but don’t be surprised to discover that their main focus is different from yours. Instead of bottling up all your emotions, find non-confrontational ways to vent your frustration. This may mean reaching out to friends, family or a counselor for support. Military OneSource provides free, confidential counseling to service members and/or spouses.
  • Try to keep it fun! Sure, moving can be frustrating and stressful, but it can also be an adventure. Whether you are sleeping on the floor, squeezing the dogs into a hotel room, or camping out under the stars, focus on the unique memories you are making with your spouse. The more you can laugh together, the better you will be able to face the craziness of a PCS move.
  • Plan date nights before the move. A PCS move can easily distract you and your spouse for months. Try to plan a few simple date nights where you can agree not to discuss moving details and focus on reconnecting with each other. These experiences don’t have to be expensive—just a few hours together enjoying a movie, a picnic or a walk on the beach can do wonders to refresh your marriage.

When PCS stress starts to put distance between you and your spouse, remember that your marriage will outlast the move. After all, you vowed to be together “in good times and bad” and the good times will always outweigh the hard times.

MilSpouse Down!

 Posted by on July 24, 2018 at 09:58
Jul 242018

Ahh, the unpredictability of life! Things can change in an instant, for better or for worse. Most of the time we can roll with it and just keep on keeping on. Sometimes, however, we need help.


Recently, I was handed some lemons of my own. I was draining pasta and burned myself – a severe second degree burn on my abdomen. As soon as it happened I knew I needed help, but I didn’t panic. In times like this when I’m unable to maintain the status quo, I call in my pinch hitters – my fellow MilSpouses – and together, we figure it out.

The beauty of military life is that we have an entire community surrounding and supporting us when we need help. We don’t live on base, but we live in a neighborhood full of military families and I am fortunate enough to work with some military wives. This community of people helped me get my classes covered, change my bandages…and most importantly, keep my chin up and move forward.

When one of us is going through something, our fellow military spouses always seem to be there and are willing to lend a helping hand. What I think is particularly beautiful about this camaraderie, from my experience, is that it doesn’t know any limits.  It doesn’t matter the branch or assignment – MilSpouses and MilFamilies respond to the call – even for people we don’t necessarily know. We’re a tribe, a community. One I am very grateful for.

I’ve been working really hard on practicing gratitude, and this situation gave me a lot of material to work with. Who are the people in your tribe that you can always go to when you need them? Can you recall an event when they came running, maybe without you even asking? I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this – it’s so special and worth appreciating. The next time you have the capacity to help a fellow MilSpouse, do it with an open heart. Someday, it will be their turn to be there for you.

Jul 102018

Once again, it’s PCS season — a time when thousands of military families find themselves as temporary nomads, moving from one duty station to the next. Some drive, others fly. We pack up kids, dogs, cats and all our furniture. We sleep in hotels, RVs, friends’ houses and sometimes in tents at campsites. But no matter how we choose to PCS, there are some experiences that will be the same with every move.


During my husband’s military career, we have completed most types of PCS moves. We have moved cross-country and overseas, do-it-yourself moves and moves with children in tow. With each experience, we’ve learned a lot and made plenty of mistakes. All these learning experiences helped me become the seasoned spouse that I am today. Now I’m able to share our moving tips with you. Here is some advice that rings true no matter what type of move your family is going through.

  1. Start early. You can begin months ahead of time to prepare for a big move. It’s true that you can’t do anything official without hard copy orders. But even before you have them, you can think ahead about what you need to get rid of in your house. Clean out and get rid of old clothes, toys and furniture. Either donate it or host a yard sale. If this is your first move, you should attend a PCS class on your base that will walk you through the steps of a government move or speak with your relocation assistance point of contact at the Military and Family Support Center. Don’t forget about your budget for the move. You’ll want to start saving money and to cover household expenses and non-refunded moving expenses.
  2. Get organized. Moving can be hectic, but don’t let the responsibilities overwhelm you. Make lists and create a schedule to spread out tasks so you won’t be rushing during the final week. Your Relocation Assistance Program specialists can help you with this. You can talk to them about your moving location and date and they will help you plan out everything—from job and house hunting, to government paperwork, to deciding how to move your POV (your vehicle). They can help you locate and think through checklists of travel plans, items to hand-carry and official paperwork the service member needs to complete. It takes the guesswork out of a PCS move and helps you stay on track.
  3. Do your research. You can learn a lot about a new base before you move. Look into housing options to see if there is a waiting list and how to get on it. Know the school options for your kids. Look for jobs for yourself and start making professional connections in the area. All this can happen before the move. MilitaryINSTALLATIONS will show you what is available at your new duty station and connect you to their website, so you can easily find numbers for important offices like base housing and the base school. The more you learn ahead of time, the better you can prepare your family for the move. Also, if you have little ones and need child care, don’t forget to register by visiting
  4. Work together. The whole family moves, so things will be less stressful when the whole family works as a team. Make time to talk to your kids and answer their questions about the move. Find ways to take breaks or make the moving process fun. Let older kids be involved in some of the planning and decision-making. Communicate with your spouse so you are working together, not against each other.
  5. Ask for help. Ask friends to help you pack and move if you are doing things yourself. Accept offers from neighbors to watch your kids or share a hot meal. Borrow bedding or sleeping bags for the last night when you are sleeping on the floor of your house. When you are planning your PCS trip, consider staying with friends or family along the way to save money.

Whether you are moving within the same state or relocating overseas, any military family can follow these moving tips to have a smooth PCS experience. Share your tips with us!

The Seasoned MilSpouse

 Posted by on May 14, 2018 at 16:17
May 142018

In the many years I’ve been a MilSpouse blogger, I’ve always felt new in some way. I began as the newbie spouse — the spouse coping with her first deployment. Then I was the new mom. Before I knew it, I was the new spouse, new mom, newly reunited and planning her first PCS. Most recently, I embarked on my first OCONUS PCS. See? Still shiny and new.


But something weird happened around my spouse’s tenth year of military service. I seemed to have passed an invisible line that separates the new and the ol— err — seasoned. I don’t mind the title, it just hadn’t dawned on me that I was one until this year.

The fast-paced military life has a way of distorting time and distance in our minds, doesn’t it? Like, how is my child already seven? We just moved, how are we already talking about moving again? Thank goodness for social media keeping tabs on the years for me — it adds a healthy dose of perspective to someone like me who feels like everything just happened.

Just this week, I vocalized this to a cashier at our current location in Japan. The cashier casually asked me how long I’ve lived here.

I replied with my scripted, “We just got here in June.” But really, I can’t say “just” anymore. We’ve been here a year, even though I still feel new, which I explained to her.

She replied, “Honey, we all still feel new.”

Mind. Blown.

Not only did she put into perspective that the newness never really wears off overseas orders, but that the newness never really feels like it falls away from military life — we never completely have it figured out because it’s always changing just enough — with a PCS or deployment or new job — to keep us on our toes and keep us feeling new.

Looking back, there weren’t really signs that the seasoned transition was happening; I never picked up on them if they were there. I didn’t get an orientation or a merit badge — not even a standard DoD email. It was more of a “Poof! You’re seasoned now.” It was an abrupt change, like a PCS or a deployment with minimal details — there one day, gone the next.

But, I do find lately that I’m more commonly the token seasoned spouse in a room of youngsters. I’ll be holding my own in a conversation until they start talking about going out together after a squadron event. After this? Yeah, after this I’m going home because babysitters make more money than I do and I’m exhausted.

I feel a little bit pressured to say profound things that will serve as their military spouse mantra for years to come. Meanwhile, I’m still doling out blank stares when asked what about my husband’s job at the squadron (although, I have made it a point to learn that this time around). Perhaps the balance keeps the few pearls of wisdom I can offer from sounding preachy — totally intentional, you guys.

I still ask questions, and I still need advice. I still learn something new about base life or military life nearly every day, but I am now trying to balance that with a goal to learn the names of the Marines and spouses from my husband’s shop and volunteer more in the squadron.

Most of all, in my military spouse tenure, I want to avoid going from seasoned to salty. We run the risk of becoming burnt out with volunteering and moving and separations and sacrifice. What I hope to provide for this up-and-coming generation of military spouses is a positive image of a seasoned spouse — one who is relatable and approachable, one who doesn’t wear rank, one who is ready to support, volunteer and lift others up.

In my days as a newbie spouse (not just when I thought I was still one), I had some incredible seasoned spouses leading the way. It’s an inspiring legacy to follow, and I am humbled to carry the torch for a little while.

Celebrating MilSpouses

 Posted by on May 8, 2018 at 13:54
May 082018

Like me, many of you may have assumed that Military Spouse Day (May 11) is meant to celebrate your husband or wife who serves in the military. To my surprise, my husband told me that it’s to honor me – his military spouse! MilSpouses often don’t think of themselves; we just do what needs to be done and keep moving forward. This day is to appreciate all the doers and homefront heroes that encourage each other and support their spouses.


MilSpouses are incredibly important for the military community because they’re critical to the continued functioning and success of many military personnel. It is their constant love and support that keeps things running at home during deployments, helps moves go smoothly, and often helps other spouses and families adjust to military life and new surroundings. We do all this with love and enthusiasm – most of the time. Seriously though, part of being a military spouse is supporting your service member through not only the regular rigors of marriage but also through the unique challenges military life can bring. For this, MilSpouses deserve a day, at least, to be appreciated and to show themselves a little love.

To further acknowledge this day, you can create some of your own traditions that your spouse does for you, or that you can do for yourself. After all, since it always falls on a Friday, you have an entire weekend to celebrate! Here are a few ideas to try:

  • A weekend away. A day at the spa, anyone?
  • A celebratory dinner. Date night is always a great way to say thank you – whether you go out or cook and stay in.
  • A video. Record significant moments where your spouse’s support was particularly impactful on you and/or the kids.
  • A gift. Cards, flowers, foot massages – the possibilities are endless.
  • A guy’s weekend. Male military spouses, I haven’t forgotten about you! Send him off for weekend full of pizza and without the honey-do-list.

If you are a military spouse, don’t forget to acknowledge and love yourself on this day. Thank yourself for your contributions and then thank your service member for theirs, too. It’s a journey taken together, after all.  The appreciation goes both ways!

Spread the Love

 Posted by on February 12, 2018 at 16:35
Feb 122018

Love is in the air! While social media gives us all an opportunity to keep in touch and check in with our loved ones, it doesn’t always allow us to truly show love to our friends and family. A little extra effort can go a long way with the people you love, and small acts of affection throughout the year can have a huge impact!


  • For Your Military “Framily”: Many military friendships are known for their deep, shared understanding of military life, its challenges and rewards. These relationships can endure years of long distance, and when you next connect it’s as if no time or distance has passed.
    • Handwrite a note. Using pen and paper can convey more than a text, social media post or email. For better or worse, your handwriting has your essence, effort and emotion etched into it. You’ll be amazed at the reaction it will evoke in your friends.
    • Chat it up. If leave and savings don’t allow you to see one another in person, schedule a time to enjoy coffee and a video chat remotely.
    • Phone a friend. I know, I’m not a phone person either. But, the inflections of a dear friend’s voice and the joy their laughter brings is more than an LOL will ever convey.
  • For Your Extended Family: Keep family close, or mend fences, by thanking them for how they have helped/supported you through the years.
    • Send a thank you card. Handwrite a short note to thank a family member for something they did that helped you when you were growing up (or something recent). Gratitude is powerful. Use it early and often.
    • Phone home. Those who nurtured us deserve time in our current lives and gratitude for all they did. Set up a weekly call (it can be brief) and catch up with how everyone. You can make this a video call if you both have that capability.
  • For Your Children: Kids don’t always know how we feel, even though we think they should. Try a few of these ideas to remind them how very loved they are.
    • Hide love-you notes. Use 3×5 cards to write one thing (per card) that you love about your child. Fold it and put their name on the outside. Tuck the note in their bathroom mirror, sock drawer or in their shoe.
    • Snail mail. Kids love getting mail. It makes them feel special. Write a letter that tells them what makes them unique or what you truly appreciate about them. Share something about your childhood that they didn’t already know.
    • Send them on a scavenger hunt. Your handwritten clues should lead your child to a hidden envelope with an invitation for a date with you (movies, bowling, etc.). Kids value time with you more than most other things.
  • For Your Significant Other: Sometimes we neglect the ones closest to us as we tend to our children, home, work, etc. It’s important to remember that our first loves need some attention, too.
    • Grab a pad of sticky notes and write what you love about your significant other. Stick the notes on the bathroom mirror, microwave, coffee maker, briefcase, steering wheel, etc.
    • Dial their number. Call your significant other and ask them out on a date. Bonus points if you refrain from using your phones while you’re out!
    • Exchange love letters. Start writing and mailing love letters to one another. Sometimes it’s easier to express yourself in writing than words.

Going the extra mile to make personal connections with the people you love the most can be so valuable. Who will you take the extra step to connect with this year?

Keeping the Spark Alive

 Posted by on February 5, 2018 at 09:00
Feb 052018

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and I find this is a perfect time to make sure my connection with my hubby is going strong. In this fast-paced military life, there are plenty of lengthy absences and stressors that can take a toll on our relationships. Our spouses are called upon to do whatever is needed at the drop of a hat, and that can mean that sometimes they leave without a lot of notice. I read an article once where the wife of an officer said that in their two-decade marriage, they had been apart more days than together. That’s crazy!


Marriage is hard. It takes hard work and dedication to keep it together, and even more work to make it great. Kids, jobs, finances, health…all of this can play a significant role in the well-being of your marriage. Now – add the complication of doing it from different continents, and you have some serious hurdles to overcome! Here are some tips for making sure your spark stays strong during a deployment.

  1. Communication is important. While my husband was recently deployed, we texted daily (except when he was in the field), spoke on the phone a few times a week and video chatted several times a month. I also sent him both hand-written letters and emails. I started keeping a list of things to talk about so that I didn’t forget them when he called. Nothing is worse than feeling like communication is obligatory, so I would try my best to keep it interesting and funny. Occasionally I would have to vent about something or tell him about the broken water heater, but I usually tried to handle that stuff myself and focus our conversations on light-hearted things. My husband is a fixer and nothing stresses him out more than when I have a problem and he can’t do anything about it. I wanted to reduce unnecessary stress for him as best as I could.
  2. Build more trust. You can never have too much mutual trust in a relationship. I trust my husband to have my back in a disagreement with someone else and to share my burdens. We may let each other down here or there, but above all else we are partners. While he was gone for a year, I trusted that he would continue to love me despite the distance and he trusted me to do the same.
  3. Nourish your connection. Our love grew stronger during my husband’s deployment. Without the option for physical connection, we talked. A lot. He told me stories that I had never heard in our 12-year marriage. I shared my career plans. I practiced really listening to make him feel valued. I admit that I can sometimes get a bit self-centered. Between my career, kids, housework and everything else going on in my life, I wasn’t always able to give my husband my full attention when he was home. Once he left, I realized how valuable that was and made every effort to fully concentrate on him when he called.
  4. Keep your romance alive. A lot of this is going to depend on your comfort level but try to make things fun. Think about buying a new outfit for his return or writing an email to express your excitement about having your spouse back in your arms. Without oversharing what you don’t want the world to see or hear about, convey the essence of your desire for a physical connection through phone calls or letters. Be creative, it can be a lot of fun.

Show You Care with Care Packages

 Posted by on January 29, 2018 at 16:49
Jan 292018

When my husband was deployed, one of my favorite things to do was send him care packages. It made me feel useful – it was something I could do from home to make his life easier. Here are a few tips I learned over the years to make creating and sending care packages painless:


  • USPS provides free supplies. Simply call 800-610-8734, select Order Supplies and ask for the Military Care Kit. It comes with flat-rate boxes, labels, forms and tape.
  • Make the post office visit a breeze. I would send a package about every three weeks when my husband was in Iraq. I would typically fill a box up slowly and by the time it was ready to send, I forgot what was at the bottom. I eventually started to keep a sticky note on the top flap of the box and wrote down what went in so that it was much easier to fill out the custom’s form at the post office! Also, do yourself a favor and check the prohibited items list first. Half the contents of my first care package were rejected because I didn’t read the list.
  • Utilize homemade gifts and online shopping. I make my own beef jerky and cookies and would send those items routinely (vacuum sealed of course), as well as other personal items like pictures, letters, funny little crafts or snacks. Everything else I ordered online. Many online sites even ship for free (on most items) to APOs and FPOs.
  • Know what to send and when. In the beginning, my husband needed many of the basics but didn’t have a good internet connection. I had to order things for him like slippers, batteries (alkaline only), snacks and a small fan. I even ordered a mattress pad and had it shipped right to him for free. As time went on he needed less, and the packages took on a more fun and easy nature featuring a lot of kid’s crafts and drawings.
  • Consider shipping time. Most packages can make it to the Middle East in about two weeks, but some take longer. If you have a specific deadline, plan ahead! Most of the time you can get away with shipping three weeks out, but during the holidays I would plan for up to five weeks. And of course, sometimes packages get lost. For three months after my husband’s unit moved to Syria, my family and I were sending packages and he didn’t receive any of them. Then about a week before he left that base, he got all 37 packages at once. He was a bit overwhelmed and ended up giving most of it away, but at least he did get them all.
  • Be cautious about what you send. Sometimes packages get lost forever. I would recommend that you don’t send that priceless family quilt or the only photo you have from Nana’s wedding in 1934. Remember that sometimes these packages get opened by someone other than your loved one first, so don’t send anything you are not okay with someone else seeing.

Overall, I’ve learned to not stress when it comes to assembling and shipping care packages. Most service members just like receiving them, so don’t worry too much about what’s in it or how perfect the decorations are. Be thoughtful and have fun with it and they will know that you care!

Choosing the Right Crew as a New Milspouse

 Posted by on January 9, 2018 at 10:36
Jan 092018

I saw an awesome t-shirt the other day that summed up my friendship philosophy: Your vibe attracts your tribe. Isn’t that the truth? I have an amazing group of friends who I trust with my whole heart. But friendships haven’t always been easy for me, especially as a new military spouse. Making friends as an adult under any circumstances can be tough. Making friends when you are away from home can be even harder. But having a crew of friends you can count on is one of the things that has helped me most on my military journey.


When I was a young military spouse in my early 20s, living on an installation for the first time, life was lonely. My husband was working a lot and I didn’t have many friends that I kept in touch with after high school. I remember our first tour well. It was the first time I’d ever met someone from another state, much less the other side of the world. I was being exposed to people from different backgrounds and cultures with different value systems and parenting styles. It didn’t take me long to learn that the military spouse connection alone would not be enough to sustain a lasting friendship. I’d meet a spouse and we’d hit it off, but our friendship would fade, sometimes for obvious reasons and others with no explanation at all. I wish back then that someone would have told me that it was okay to let friendships go if they didn’t feel right. Now that I’m older and I have good, caring, amazing friends, I would tell myself this:

  1. Don’t become someone’s enabler. Every military spouse needs a helping hand from time to time. An emergency sitter, a can of cream of mushroom soup, or a ride to the clinic. But if crisis seems to follow someone around like a lost puppy, that might not be a good relationship for you. Rescue friends are emotionally exhausting and take away valuable time from healthy relationships. It’s okay to help someone out in a time of need, but don’t become a savior for someone who constantly needs rescuing.
  2. Find a mutual connection. People get busy. We don’t always return calls, social media messages, or texts, and not all of us are planners. But if you’re always the person reaching out and trying to make plans, the friendship might not be reciprocated by the other person. You are worth a phone call. Don’t settle for less.
  3. Avoid gossip. If someone is gossiping to you about someone else, they most likely are talking about you when you aren’t around. Unless you enjoy being the topic of other people’s conversation, avoid people who talk about other people’s business. If someone shares something with you, even if they don’t say, “this is a secret,” don’t talk about it with someone else.
  4. Embrace people who embrace this life. It’s hard living away from home and family. For many of us, life in the military is a shock to our system – we aren’t used to the long hours, protocols and customs – but it’s much easier to embrace military life when you surround yourself with other families who enjoy it. As spouses, we are a part of military culture because we chose to marry and build a life with our service member. Oftentimes their desire to serve our country can be hard on us. But their commitment runs deep, just like our love for them. Surround yourself with people who have strong marriages and who are living their best MilLife.
  5. Remember you are the company you keep. The qualities you look for in other military spouses will be easier to spot if you possess them yourself.

Over the past 20 years, I have met hundreds of military spouses. We share a camaraderie that can’t be matched, but being a fellow military spouse is not enough to sustain a friendship. Finding your special few takes patience – it’s okay to let people come into and fade out of your life. The best people are the ones you can be your authentic self with. Hold onto those people, treasure them, love them and nurture those relationships. Your tribe is out there – you just need to build it, one healthy relationship at a time.

Nov 142017

Last Sunday afternoon, our family of four walked out our front door together. We walked right by both family cars (lemons that we paid a grand total of $4,200 for when we arrived in Japan). We walked down the sidewalk of our duplex-lined street, passing neighbors, busy playgrounds, our commissary, the building where mommy volunteers and eventually wound up at the base theater.


I paid $12 for four tickets and we shuffled inside to grab popcorn and drinks before our movie. In line, we saw friends and made plans for future lunch dates. Once seated, I did the classic mom move and divided the popcorn between kids with just enough time leftover to squeeze in an adult conversation with my husband before the previews started. We were quickly interrupted by our 6-year-old son who tried frantically to get me to take the popcorn tray I had just given him. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied confidently, “They’re about to play the anthem, mom. I need to stand up.”

It took exactly three movies in that theater for my son to remember to stand for our anthem before the start of our movie — something a civilian movie-goer would probably find strange. I was so proud that my usual Star-Spangled Banner goosebumps rose twice as tall. The anthem ended, we sat down and I passed the popcorn tray back down to my son.

The differences between a Sunday afternoon here and one back in the states, living off base, are subtle. However small, though, our life is different here. We are different here. Maybe it’s because we’re getting our first real taste of base living, or our first real taste of overseas living — maybe some combination of the two. Before any big move, parents ask themselves something like, “Are we doing the right thing for our family?” We asked ourselves that very question before moving to Japan. The answer is revealed in little moments like our son remembering to stand in the theater; our lives have been shaken up in the best ways by moving here.

  1. We start our day with morning colors. I never have to look far for Monday motivation — it plays every morning at 8 am, without fail.
  2. We pause for Kimigayo. Out of respect for our host nation, we remain standing for the Japanese national anthem that directly follows our own. Our kids know the name of the song and why they are standing for it. That, to me, is a real-life lesson in respect.
  3. We walk. The value of our cars in the second sentence of this blog was not a typo; we paid next to nothing for them. They get us from point A to point B, unless point B is within walking distance, as it usually is on base. I drove to the pool once. By the time I found a parking spot it was within sight of our house and I felt ridiculous. We haven’t driven to the pool since.
  4. When we do drive, it’s painfully slow. There’s a poorly translated cautionary sign at the end of our street that reads “Dead Slow.” If you’ve ever driven on base, you get it — you’ve probably even thought it a couple of times. The 30 kph (less than 20 mph) was tough to adjust to, I’ll admit, but I don’t mind it now. There are so many pedestrians and bicyclists, many of them kids, that I prefer to take it slow and keep everyone safe.
  5. We watch old movies. Our theater shows movies long after they’ve premiered in the states, including the one I mentioned earlier. I feel confident in speaking for everyone when I say that not a single person cares.
  6. We get creative with groceries. It’s fantastic living right down the street from the commissary, except on the days it’s awaiting a shipment. Walking down the bread aisle only to find dinner rolls and otherwise empty shelves was a first for me. But, I’m not complaining. Our local Japanese grocery stores have fresh produce and plenty of opportunities to be adventurous. It’s nothing like grocery shopping stateside, but that’s why it’s an adventure!
  7. We take care of each other here on base. Family members, classmates, neighbors, friends, it doesn’t matter. We recognize that we’re all together here in this community. Regardless of rank or situation, we tackle things together.
  8. We fall asleep to TAPS. Even on the worst day, when nothing went right, it’s a little reflection and a little perspective.
All materials copyright Military OneSource, 2012. Blog content held jointly by writer and Military OneSource, with shared rights to republish with appropriate attribution.